Arkansas will begin to lift restrictions on gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities on Monday, May 4, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
The decision comes with several conditions that limit how facilities can operate, including safety and physical distancing requirements.
For starters, both staff and patrons must be regularly screened to determine if they can enter a facility.
Anyone who has recently traveled to New York, New Jersey, New Orleans or anywhere overseas will not be allowed, nor will anyone with a fever or who has been in recent contact with a COVID-19 patient. Patrons with compromised immune systems or those with a chronic disease are not allowed into a facility. Employees must also comply with temperature checks.
Face coverings will be required for staff and patrons, except for those who are actively exercising.
Pools, spas, showers and saunas will not be allowed to reopen at this time, Hutchinson said.
“We’re not ready for that yet,” he said.
Other safety measure must be put in place, including sanitizing equipment after use and making hand sanitizer readily available throughout a facility.
Hutchinson said patrons must be spaced 12 feet apart while working out and during training sessions or classes.
“That’s important because as you exercise you’re exhaling to a greater extent,” he said, citing recommendations that social distancing be extended for those who are working out. “So we want to have extra protective measures there.”
Finally, no personal contact will be allowed inside any facility.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 3,255 on Thursday, which is an increase of 63 since Wednesday. There were two additional deaths, bringing the toll to 61.